Learn About: Water Disinfection

Learn about water disinfectionUntreated domestic wastewater contains microorganisms or pathogens that produce human diseases. Processes used to kill or deactivate these harmful organisms are called disinfection. Chlorine is the most widely used disinfectant but ozone and ultraviolet radiation are also frequently used for wastewater effluent disinfection.

Chlorine

Chlorine kills microorganisms by destroying cellular material. This chemical can be applied to wastewater as a gas, a liquid or in a solid form similar to swimming pool disinfection chemicals. However, any free (uncombined) chlorine remaining in the water, even at low concentrations, is highly toxic to beneficial aquatic life. Therefore, removal of even trace amounts of free chlorine by dechlorination is often needed to protect fish and aquatic life. Due to emergency response and potential safety concerns, chlorine gas is used less frequently now than in the past.

Ozone

Ozone is produced from oxygen exposed to a high voltage current. Ozone is very effective at destroying viruses and bacteria and decomposes back to oxygen rapidly without leaving harmful by products. However, ozone is not very economical due to high energy costs.

Ultraviolet Disinfection

Ultra violet (UV) disinfection occurs when electromagnetic energy in the form of light in the UV spectrum produced by mercury arc lamps penetrates the cell wall of exposed microorganisms. The UV radiation retards the ability of the microorganisms to survive by damaging their genetic material. UV disinfection is a physical treatment process that leaves no chemical traces. Organisms can sometimes repair and reverse the destructive effects of UV when applied at low doses.

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Categories: Wastewater Treatment

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